Stopping for a check
I’ve got a strange thing I do as I write each of my books. I plot out my book in detail creating an outline and sketching out my W plot line. If the W doesn’t work that well, I might fill out one of my Michael Hauge plot worksheets and build my outline from there. I then develop my characters filling out worksheets and writing paragraphs on each of my main characters all before I start to write. I then slip all of that work into a folder or a binder and just write the book from my broad outline making sure I hit all the important plot points.
I need my outline so that I know what’s going t happen next and that’s fine. I’m a plotter. I’m no good at flying by the seat of my pants. Well, let me rephrase that, I do fly. I write pretty quickly, usually a scene a day and I try not to look back at where I’ve come from, but only ahead at where I’m going… Until I come to about the middle of the book, and then I pause and reassess where my characters are in their journey.
That’s where I am right now in Rake. I’m just about to hit that lovely high point where the hero and heroine have that lovely romantic moment and all is right with the world. You, the reader, know it’s not going to last. In fact, we all know that it’s all going to go down hill from here (until it shoots back up at the end). But still, this is a place where I like to linger a little bit. The problem is, as I’m lingering and enjoying the romantic moment, my characters are actually going through an internal struggle. Well, they’ve been going through one the entire book, but now they’re beginning to realize it or have to actually acknowledge it. It’s got to be something my character is fighting against (because we all like the status quo. We don’t want to change!). But change they must because they’ve got to grow and learn and it’s going to be difficult, if not outright painful.
So I need to stop the forward momentum of my writing to make sure that my characters are doing what they should be doing (growing). I was doing this today.
Of course, I realized that while my heroine is doing all sorts of wonderful growing and fighting against such growth, my hero has remained pretty stagnant. I’m not quite sure where, if anywhere, he is going. I know that he should be going somewhere, I’m just not seeing it and I’m not quite sure I remember where it is I decided he needs to go (yeah, he’s pretty wonderful to start with—that might be one of my problems).
So I’ll pause and reassess and look through my old notes and figure out what he’s supposed to be doing and then, hopefully, I’ll be able to get him back on track again.
So do you do this? Do you need to stop and reassess or so you just plow through and then figure out what you’ve got at the end and then fix things afterward?